Luis Manuel Villa Lopez, commonly known as Luisma, has won the second league title of his career. He has come a long way from Barnet to Bangalore. Let’s dive into his journey.
Back in January 2019, Luisma was a free agent after the termination of his contract with SD Ponferradina, a Spanish third-division side in North-West of Spain. Out of nowhere, he received an offer from 5,000 miles away to play for Bangalore in the Indian Super League. His reflex was to decline the offer. But as he learnt more about the league, his curiosity spiked. So the next morning he accepted the offer in the light of continuing his football career.
Bangalore, also popular as ‘The Blues’, were already halfway through their regular season. One left for a foreigner player was still left on their roster. According to the rules, a team can have 8 foreigner players and only 5 of them can be at the field at once. This policy had Luisma down to the ground mostly.
Usually, Luisma was called off the bench to make a difference in the middle of the match with a jersey number 9. More importantly, he did make the difference.
After 18 games, Bangalore finished top of the league but they still had to play-off with NorthEast united in order to win the title once again.
The Blues played the finals against FC Goa. Even after 70 minutes, the match was goalless.
“I started on the bench and came on in the second half, with the score at 0-0, thinking how I could do my best to help the team “, said Luisma to Betway Online.
The Blues went to lock 1-0 win four minutes prior to the end of extra time.
This contribution became the second honour of Spaniard’s strange career.
Luisma made his debut into La Liga just three weeks after his 18th birthday. Overall, he only played thrice as substitutes in three seasons.
After spending his next three seasons between four different clubs in Segunda B, England welcomed him in July 2013 for a trial with Barnet. At that time the club was managed by Champions League winner and former Dutch international Edgar Davids.
Luisma got the contract and was the preferred starter. But when Davids resigned, Martin Alley took his place and Luisma started to get lesser time on the pitch.
Once in a meeting with Martin, Luisma was told that if he scored 10 goals next season, they would be champions. The gravity of his words made Luisma determined. As a result, the next season he scored 13 goals and Barnet won the title by a single point.
At this point, he could have stepped up his career but he chose to go back to Spain and bid farewell to all his fans in an emotional letter.
Why come to Bangalore then?
But once again, Luisma came back to play but now for The Blues. He tells that it was a hard decision to make but it was the right one. In the end, making the right decision is more important.
He tells us about his time in Bangalore.
“Lots of the players and coaching team were living in these apartments along with some locals. We liked to go to the city centre on a tuk-tuk, Travel around the city, visit the shops, and eat in restaurants”, said Luisma.
With Luisma’s not so good but not bad English, the communication was not hard. “We all communicated in English, some better than others, but ultimately we could all understand each other.”
He also opens about his relationships with other players. “They’re great players. They are very professional and work hard to improve and be able to help the team”, said the Spaniard.
“Sunil [Chhetri], for example, is an icon in his country who has scored more goals for the national team than anybody else. He is 35 years old but trains like he is 18”, he adds.
He totally enjoyed his Indian fans and loved how they always surprised him. On the day of the final, he was elated to see the joy in the crowd. Every single person was in their colours for Bangalore and Goa. The view was incredible for him.
End of the Season
For the first time in his career, he is now without a club. He has just turned 30 and doesn’t want to end his career.
If nothing happens, he is considering joining police force. He is now baffled because he has never been in such a situation. It sometimes gets frustrating for him but he is keeping himself ready for new opportunities.
He is extremely clear that he wants to continue football. But given how many opportunities he has seized along his journey, one cannot imagine it settling without one more chapter.